Observing that AAP MLA and Delhi’s former law minister Jitender Singh Tomar has “not lawfully obtained LLB degree and was not duly enrolled as an advocate at the time of filing his nomination” papers, the Delhi High Court Friday set aside his election in the 2015 Delhi Assembly polls.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw ruled Tomar, who had to resign as law minister in June 2015 over his arrest for allegedly obtaining a fake law degree, furnished “false information of his educational qualification in the affidavit filed with his nomination form”. He was granted bail in July 2015. Tomar is contesting the upcoming Delhi polls on an AAP ticket from the Tri Nagar constituency.
Tomar’s arrest in 2015 followed a police probe into a complaint by the Bar Council of Delhi accusing him of obtaining a fake law degree from the Institute of Legal Studies College in Munger, Bihar. The criminal case is pending trial before the lower court.
The High Court’s ruling came on an election petition by BJP leader Nand Kishore Garg, seeking to set aside Tomar’s election on the ground his poll was “materially affected by deliberate concealment, misrepresentation, wrong declaration and wilful suppression of the educational qualification in the affidavit filed along with the nomination form”.
Tomar had sought rejection of the election petition: “Furnishing of wrong information with the nomination form does not constitute a ground for setting aside of the election and also there was no material on record to show that the result of the election was materially affected by the declaration, even if wrong.”
The HC held Tomar’s nomination was “improperly accepted”. “… false declaration by Tomar of his educational qualification and vocation resulted in inducement and thwarted free exercise of electoral right of the voter. (Tomar) published statements of fact which were false and which he did not believe to be true… to unduly influence voters… ” it added.
The HC in its 40-page order said that on principles, without adverting to law, “I, as an elector, would feel cheated if the candidate I vote for and who is elected, is ultimately found to have made a false representation while canvassing his candidature and particularly qua his/her educational qualification and profession/vocation.”
“Educational qualification and vocation/profession is a significant part of one’s persona. A person is assessed by others, in the initial interaction, by his/her educational, qualification and vocation and only after making an initial breakthrough, may in the course of subsequent interactions, be assessed by other facets of his/her persona,” it added.
Tomar was declared elected from Tri Nagar with 63,012 votes while Garg came second with 40,701 votes. He is likely to file his nomination in a day or two.
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